By: Paul A. Werlin, President, Human Capital Resources, Inc.
It’s a terrible feeling being really lost. Not knowing where you are and how you’re going to find your way home or to safety. As a child, it’s truly terrifying and even as an adult, it can be very unsettling. Not only can you be physically lost, but you can also be financially lost—not knowing where you are and how you’re going to reach your goals.
A while back, I wrote about the need for a comprehensive financial plan. I still strongly recommend that everyone have a written plan that lays out, in detail, your financial picture, your goals and the strategies that you will use to help you reach those goals. But the truth is, most people don’t want to take the time, or make the effort (or perhaps pay the cost) to meet with a financial advisor. Some people may feel embarrassed or hesitant to admit to someone how unprepared or uninformed they are. They’d rather not even think about how their going to survive when they retire, or how they’re going to pay for the children’s’ education costs or how they’ll pay for health care. So, they avoid the conversation and perhaps even avoid just thinking about it. But, as we all know, pretending or hiding your head in the sand won’t fix anything and will actually just make matters worse. But, let me tell you, there is still hope for these people.
Rather than looking at your entire financial picture, which can be overwhelming, just focus on one problem or goal at a time. Want to pay down your credit card debt? Make a plan. Want to save on taxes and start saving for retirement? Open and IRA or make contributions to your employers 401K. Want to start investing? Open an account with a reputable on-line broker and do some homework. All the majors have lots of information that’s perfect for new and fist-time investors. And most firms will let you get started with a little as $50 or $100. Want to save for your kids or grandchildren? Open custodial accounts for them.
There are so many small steps you can take that may not solve all your financial problems, but as the saying goes, “every journey starts with the first step." Perhaps, you’ll gain the confidence to start putting all the pieces together or work with a professional and develop that comprehensive plan that will guide you. So, no more excuses, no more procrastination. Take that first step.